Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Start Anew by writing it down on paper

If you are finding it difficult to sleep or concentrate at times, it may be worth writing things down on paper.

I find it particularly handy when I can't sleep if I'm worrying about something. For example say, I forgot to pick up my clothes from the dry cleaners, so I'd write it down and tell myself I've written it down so now I know I won't forget it can worry about it tomorrow and can let that thought go. It may not always work depending on your thoughts but the very action of writing it down and knowing that it can return to them later can be useful and give you peace of mind to at least clear one distracting thought.

Meditation can help as well, but it may require some initial practice along with some patience and dedication. Starting small say 5 minutes a day can help you get into the mode and habit with this (see Introduction to medtiation for tips on doing so).

Someone once told me too that if you are planning to start fresh on anything then it helps by not only telling yourself you're starting from anew but also by washing your hands too. That way you can feel that the old things can be washed away from these action. Our minds are interesting in the way that they work in that manner, so it is most likely the engagement of our senses that allows us to feel and remember our action point that way.

My detention centre visit...

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit an asylum detention centre to see what one is truly like particularly given all the media coverage, etc. surrounding it. It's something that had been on my to do list for a while as I find that most things in life you have to see it for yourself and then decide for yourself whether you believe it or not, and form your own perceptions.

And so I visited the Broadmeadows centre in Melbourne, which is based within a defence base. It's located not far from the local shopping centre and local residents and where I found my way there by bus. It is surrounded by perimeter fences, I guess to keep people in and out from the area. Contrary to what you might think as I originally thought it might be difficult to gain access to the place, however, provided you fill and send in any required forms and documentation and you make an appointment within visiting hours then you're allowed to visit.

When I visited I must say I almost felt like I was visiting a zoo but thankfully I went with a few others who went there to visit some friends that they've made in there before, so it made me feel like I could make a friend there too.

The place itself seemed quite peaceful, with the exception of the lockdown that the facility held, there were many items of convenience and things to help keep the refugees and individuals occupied and housed. Basic things such as food, water and shelter seemed to be provided as well as various forms of entertainment such as an Xbox, playstation, and access to the internet. This is important as I'd hate to think of what you could do each day if you're not exactly going to work or studying. Anyway, from that perspective they seemed adequately supplied, although I am not knowledgeable of any restrictions or limitations that they may have on access to these, only I saw that they were there...

From my discussions with individuals, some speaking of it, others you could see it in their eyes, and it was that their main concerns and frustrations was that they lacked freedom. For they desired the freedom to truly venture outside the facility as us full fledged citizens could, though I was told that special exceptions may be made if well behaved then they were able to visit the local shopping center, study etc.

Some briefly shared some of stories of the perilousness journey taken to arrive here, while others told of their journey so far in Australia from the various detention centres that they had been moving to and from. The visit itself I felt was a great experience which helped me understand and see things from for myself and for a chance to speak to the individuals involved. What we always have to recommend as we are all people seeking similar joys in life, although for some, achieving this is not as easy as it seems. Nonetheless, the experience is still yet one piece in the puzzle, how the pieces all comes together will be something interesting to see...

What can I bring to the detention centre?
For those thinking about visiting, my group was able to bring basic foods (we brought some nice turkish bread with some tasty dips :D) which we had cleared before we brought it in. We also brought a freebie along too but sadly we couldn't bring that in or didn't have a chance to use it (I think it was the latter reason though). So it's probably wise to check with the centre before you do plan on bringing anything in. Your personal items such as your wallet, mobile phone, car keys etc. will be kept in a locker before you enter. Anyways, I hope this info is helpful and you find the experience enlightening!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Learning the reasons

I was given some good piece of advice recently on teaching that on teaching that I'd like to share with you that helps improve the way you teach someone whether formally as a teacher or just teaching your friend or family.

We often teach by going through concepts, ideas, and telling people that should do it this way or that way. Yet if the person (we'll call them the 'student') we're teaching doesn't understand the reasoning behind it then generally their learning is quite rigid and restricted to the particular situation/ environment being taught. 

For example, say you're teaching someone how to swim. You tell them that they must stroke their arms and keep their elbows out of the water and this may help them to swim better. And you may need to prompt or adjust their arms for them to swim properly. This is as they may not necessary know how to confirm themselves that they are doing it properly.

Yet if you also taught them that keeping their elbows out of the water means that they create little resistance than that'll more likely bend their elbows more appropriately and naturally, as not all your prompting or adjusting may have led them to the same outcomes. They may personally find a comfortable way to swim. 

Of course, not all students even with an understanding of the reasoning will improve as sometimes it can confuse the student. This as with most things, there is no 'one size fits all' rule. I have found that it works in most cases and that you adjust your teaching style to each student. This is certainty a useful technique to consider and may help you improve the way you engage in an activity or technique yourself and encouraging thinking to improve things. It's certainty something to think about and will allow you and/or your student to look beyond the action or technique. So next time you try teach someone something, also teach the reasons behind it as well!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On success and happiness

Success and happiness means something different to each of us...

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure and I'd say the same can be said in regards to success and happiness (as well as many other things), just as they say 'beauty is in the eye of beholder'.

Because when you think about it, some people are more competitive than others, while others not so. Picture a running race for instance. Some are in it just to win it, some are happy to just complete the run, while some are happy just to participate. For each participant, they each have their own needs, yearnings, and expectations of what they want out of the run (which may also be simply a walk for some). It may be since they have felt that they have trained hard, are recovering from an injury and/or completing the race in first place basis is what is desired.

This expectation and desire differs and when looking at it in regards to success and happiness, one participant will clarify success and happiness as simply finishing the race. While that is seen as failure for another who must come first. In the race of life, it helps to think about what you are expecting or desiring and what truly makes you feel successful and happy - as you'll find that what you are seeking may not be the same as someone else...